Provisional Voting

If your registration record cannot be found or your eligibility to vote is questioned at the polls, you may still cast a provisional ballot.

A provisional ballot includes all offices that are on the regular ballot, but is counted only if the Clerk's office can verify your registration.

By implementing provisional voting as part of the Help America Vote Act, the Cook County Clerk's office ensures that all qualified voters have the opportunity to cast ballots.To learn more about the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), visit


Provisional Ballot Status - Check the status of your provisional ballot.

Click here to check the status of your Provisional Ballot (only available starting two weeks after an election).

When a Provisional Ballot is Used - Learn how to cast a vote using a provisional ballot.

An election judge will issue you a provisional ballot at your polling place if:

Your name does not appear on the lists of registered voters for the precinct. Your voting status has been challenged by an election judge, poll watcher or another voter and a majority of election judges agree. A court order is issued instructing your polling place to remain open after 7 p.m. (Everyone voting after 7 p.m. must cast provisional ballots if this occurs). You are required to show identification because you registered by mail, but you did not bring ID to the polling place on Election Day

Bring the ID to the Clerk's downtown Chicago office (69 W. Washington St., Room 500) or fax a photocopy of your ID to the Clerk's office at (312) 603-9786.

Acceptable forms of identification include:

  • a current and valid photo ID
  • a copy of a utility bill, bank statement, government check or paycheck
  • other government document showing your name and address

*In this instance, you must supply the Clerk's office with a copy of acceptable identification by 7 p.m. the Thursday after Election Day.

Casting a Provisional Ballot - Learn how to cast a provisional ballot.

1. Sign the provisional voter affidavit label.

    You will receive a copy of the Information for Provisional Voters recipt with your Provisional Voter Information label affixed to it.

2. An election judge will note on the affidavit label the reason(s) you were issued a provisional ballot.

3. The election judge will issue you a card that will enable you to vote a provisional ballot on a touch-screen voting machine.

4. Proceed to a touch screen and vote your ballot.

5. After voting, your votes will be secured and stored.

How Provisional Votes are Counted - Find out what happens to your sealed ballot.

Provisional ballots are counted after Election Day.

By law, you must vote in your assigned precinct, which you can find in Your Voter Profile, for all votes on your provisional ballot to count.

After the polls close:

  • The Clerk's office receives all provisional ballots and determines the registration status for each provisional voter within two weeks after the election.
  • If the Clerk's office determines you are registered and eligible to vote: Your ballot is counted. The final vote total for each candidate in an election is adjusted to include provisional votes before official results are issued.
  • If you are not registered, the votes you cast will not be counted. However, the information you supplied on the affidavit form will serve as a registration application. In this case, you will receive a voter identification card in the mail, which will enable you to vote in the next election unless you move before then.
Deadlines - Important dates to remember.

You may help expedite the counting of your provisional ballot if you have any information or documents to show that you are a registered voter or eligible to vote (i.e. voter registration receipt from the Secretary of State's office).

You can submit your documentation by:

Providing the information to the election officials at your polling site; bringing it to the Clerk's office, 69 W. Washington St., 5th floor, Chicago; faxing it to the Clerk's office at (312) 603-9786

Find out if your vote counts:

Check this website(only available starting two weeks after an election) to see if your vote has been counted. If your ballot was not counted, you can learn why it was not.

The Clerk's office must receive all supporting information within 7 days of Election Day. Call (312) 603-0900 if you have any questions.